Disclaimer: If you think by reading this post you will find a token, or see some answers, don't read it. The best this post can do is raise more questions.

Lately I have been thinking long and hard about the "order of the creatures" throughout the book, within the text, and how it changes, and why, and what might that have to do with "filling the box" and the couplet "Within the text you have the key, For the one that is missing you do not see."

Written differently this line of the poem could read...

"You have the key for the one you do not see, that is missing within the text."

My thoughts are only so far down the road on this one. Let's see if anyone can "see" further down the road on it.

Recently I posted a pic of a "flight formation delta" on the forum...and debz wrote me a note.
"Nice Delta formation... now, do you have the creatures laid out in it? I think what confuses me is If Ladybug leads, then where is dragonfly. Or does ladybug lead on mirror image?
Also, do they use the Delta formation when they are carrying caterpillar?"
I responded:

"That was a good question, Debz. Sent me right back to the book to query.”

First of all, there is more than one flight. But before there were any flights, there was an ordering of the creatures.

The first order is identified in the Prologue, pg 14.

This order identifies the Ground Forces and the Air Group.

The first six creatures – later identified as Spider’s Ground Forces - we find waiting “in the hole under the distant linden stump.” We also discover at this time that Spider and Beetle are known as protectors of the other creatures within. They are in this order:

1. Spider – ground
2. Beetle - ground
3. Caterpillar - ground
4. Ant - ground
5. Grasshopper - ground
6. Snail – ground (who we determine is male, and the husband of Snail, his wife, who crawls toward the hole. She can “see” Spider and Beetle, and she “knows” the rest of the ground creatures are huddled behind these two creatures.)

Now we are introduced to the creatures who will later make up the Air Force, and hear they will “soon be flying in.”

7. Dragonfly – air
8. Hummingbird – air
9. Butterfly – air
10. Firefly – air
11. Bee – air
12. Ladybug – air

In Chapter 3, pg 22, we find that Dragonfly, a male creature, is the Air Group leader, and apparently he flies “high-altitude reconnaissance” in “this part of the Forest.” He reports to Spider, however, who is identified in Chapter 3 as the Ground Leader.

In Chapter 4, The Forest Creatures, we find it is indeed, “Spider’s army.”

I notice the two “Leaders” seem to have different agendas. Dragonfly’s agenda certainly seems to be more community-oriented, while Spider’s agenda, while ultimately is for the good of the community, has more of a personal twist to it. They have a conversation in which Dragonfly objects to Spider’s less strategic agenda. Also, I note, when Dragonfly addresses Spider,


- it is the first time, the first word used in the book by one Forest Creature speaking to another.

Funny how Dragonfly believes in Spider, and that “she”, will “devise a cunning plan to eliminate (the) human intruder” only to turn around and object to Spider’s simple, rather self-serving plan. (this word – “cunning” is used to describe Spider twice in the book)

“Tie him up.”
“Hang him up.”
“Eat him up.”

Then, when Dragonfly objects, Spider refines her instructions.

“Analyze, attack, then devour.”

Dragonfly continues with persistent objections, and suggests instead a “combined attack”. At this time Dragonfly is rather prolific with her retort to Spider’s one-track thinking. Matter of fact, we find in Chapter 4 that Dragonfly is an “orator”. Also, Dragonfly calls the flying creatures “the Air Force”, and calls Spider’s troops “the Ground Forces.”

In Chapter 4 – pg. 25 - Spider organizes the Forest Creatures with “great precision” and assembles her army at the linden stump.

(This statement is WHY I began to look very carefully at the ORDERING OF THE CREATURES throughout the book. Its significance is noted within the text and is right before our eyes.)

1. Spider – Army leader - ground
2. Snail – ground - rides atop-
3. Grasshopper – ground - to provide “low level advance reconnaissance”
4. Beetle – ground – covers the flanks with-
5. Ant – ground
6. Caterpillar – ground - rear guard
7. Dragonfly – air - hovering, is already there,
8. Bee – air - and the rest hover behind him
9. Butterfly - air
10. Ladybug - air
11. Firefly - air
12. Hummingbird - air

Dragonfly speaks to the group and outlines the strategy.

Their mission as Dragonfly defines it, is to conduct aerial surveil-lance (one of those hyphenated words in the text) of the human.

Note, in this passage, we see now the THIRD name given to the flying creatures. Dragonfly now says he will “lead the Air Corps”.

In order, the names given to the Air support are:

Air Group
Air Force
Air Corps

He even says "flight formation delta" which is obviously a six-plane formation. Although we previously heard the flying creatures identified in the Prologue, there are seven forest creatures who can fly and seven creatures who DO fly if we view the IMAGE on pg. 34. Beetle is likely not originally included in Dragonfly’s “flight formation delta” as he is the least suited to flying as a rule. He usually crawls, is considered part of Spider’s Ground Forces, but apparently can fly short distances if called upon.

See Debz post 3/26:

Characteristics of Beetles

Coleoptera, the scientific name of the beetle order, comes from the Greek words coleos (“sheath”) and pteron (“wing”). The term refers to the characteristic feature of beetles—hardened front wings that form a protective sheath over the hind pair of flying wings. While most beetles can fly, many are clumsy fliers, and some have lost the ability to fly and live primarily on the ground.
The reconnaissance takes place with six creatures in the air, and six creatures on the ground for a simultaneous observation of the “human”.

After Dragonfly's Air Corps and Spider’s Ground Forces reconnaissance - the forest creatures reconvene at the linden stump, where Ladybug challenges the 'group' to rethink how they view Zac as a danger to the forest and to themselves.

No vote is taken, but apparently because Ladybug demonstrates wisdom and the ability to form a team, acknowledging the strengths of the others, she becomes the “new ‘group’ leader”.

Then they mount a second flight. This one is to go straight to Zac, to his workshop, to ask for his help, as a whole group. And the whole group agreed, just like Ladybug said they needed to before such an undertaking.

There are TWO orderings of the creatures here. Textually stated, linear fashion, the order is:

1. Ladybug - air
2. Grasshopper - ground
3. Hummingbird - air
4. Ant – ground
5. Butterfly – air
6. Bee – air
7. Snail – ground
8. Spider – ground
9. Dragonfly – air
10. Firefly - air
11. Beetle – ground/air
12. Caterpillar – ground

In the IMAGE, however, the order is illustrated thusly: [Note there is a difference between which creature is RIDING atop, and which creature is on top in the illustration because that creature CARRIES another creature.]

1. Ladybug – air -leads the way
2. Ant – ground - rides atop
3. Butterfly - air
4. Bee – air - carries
5. Snail - ground
6. Spider –ground - atop
7. Dragonfly - air
8. Beetle – air/ground - and
9. Firefly – air - carry
10. Caterpillar - ground
11. Grasshopper – ground - atop
12. Hummingbird - air

Two missions.
The first – to identify what the presence of the human could mean; the second, to elicit the help of the “good human”, Zac, to hopefully rid the forest of the evil human, Rusful.

Two separate flights.
The first – a reconnaissance; the second – an embassy seeking help.

There are a number of separate complete and some incomplete lists that order the creatures within the text, and within the images in the story. I haven’t pulled them all together, but this post covers the ones I have so far. This strikes me as an important fact and possibly holds a clue.

Partial groups appear at times also, for example when the creatures assemble on the branch to visit Zac - pg 49. They are called “the embassy” in this passage, led by Ladybug who tries to speak to Zac.

Take Chapter 16 – pg 73. The Forest Creatures are sleeping in Yorah’s branches, and “begin to awaken” and almost panic when they see the “Darkling cloud on the horizon.”

1. Hummingbird awakens first – “keen-eyed, but speechless”
2. Ladybug, the Group Leader, is awakened by Hummingbird, and is drowsy
3. Dragonfly now awakens, and “instantly assume(s) his Air Group Leader role” shouting “Condition Red! Battle stations!”

However, they don’t panic because: “Ladybug took command.”

Another partial group appears at the end of the story, Chapter 20, The Great Forest, on pg. 98, as the creatures awake from their sleep in Yorah’s green leaves.

1. Caterpillar
2. Beetle
3. Firefly
4. Spider
5. Snail
6. Ladybug
7. Ant
8. Hummingbird
9. Bee
10. Dragonfly
11. Ladybug

Butterfly is NOT mentioned.

Zac now notices the Forest creature he considers his “new friend”, Ladybug as he lay in his bed staring up into Yorah’s leaves.

Then the creatures fly “in through the window” and “up into the branches”. Textually they are written in this order:

1. Ladybug – already seen [with her mate]
2. Firefly – and
3. Beetle – carrying
4. Caterpillar
5. Bee – carrying
6. Snail
7. Dragonfly – with
8. Spider – atop her back
9. ? the Beetle Errata ?
10. Grasshopper – atop
11. a “glittering” Hummingbird

So, WHAT happened HERE? We ONLY KNOW that Beetle is mentioned TWICE. IN ERROR. We know that BUTTERFLY is NOT mentioned in the list of creatures waking from their sleep in the leaves of Yorah here at the near end of the story. And ANT is missing from the second list of now only ELEVEN creatures.

Today I looked at the ATT website and noticed a BIG change in the Errata comments.

1. P. 98 - second to last paragraph 4th sentence should read: fly with a spider on her back and finally
That means BOTH BUTTERFLY AND ANT are missing from this list “within the text”. WHY?

Well, so be it. The next sentence does say that “Zac and Ana watched them ALL rejoin their mates in Yorah’s branches.”

NEVERTHELESS, even so, the Butterfly is NOT mentioned anywhere in Chapter 20. The Ant IS mentioned as one of the creatures who wakes up in Yorah’s leaves – pg. 96. But BUTTERFLY is not to be found.

Butterfly IS found in the image on pg. 101.

leceia posted recently how she noticed the differences in the order that the 'jewels' are presented within the story and on the ATT site. This dovetailed right into what debz and I have been looking at too. I keep thinking about how the box gets filled, and that Zac realizes how to fill it.

Could it be about the order of the creatures themselves.

And could the one that is missing at the end of the story, not seen in Yorah’s leaves pg 96, or that doesn't fly in the window with the others - the BUTTERFLY– be significant? The key is within the text, MS told us, for the one that is missing that you do not see. The key is not in the images. About he cube we saw -- didn't someone say one piece always remains in the center?

This whole ordering of the creatures ? I’m just throwin' this out here. It’s probably my forte to be more of a journalist, to do the research, to be an observer. I can’t always decipher what in the world it means. BUT, if I think it is significant, I bloody well can at least report it.

My thanks to Debz and Huge Scarab for all their help and input.